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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
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Old March 13th, 2011, 12:15 AM   #2341
sweet-d
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I haven't taken a look on the specifics of that area, but the distances and population seem to work in favor of a HSR case. However, I fear a HSR-Texas Triangle project would start by assuming stations should be downtown in each city, which makes access to stations easy for the tiny fraction of people living and working in their inner area, and a nightmare for everybody else, while also increase tunneling costs a lot.

So, why don't they come up with a plan for major HSR stations near major highway interchanges, with massive parking lots and maybe even some light-rail connection to downtown - in other words, why don't they treat an HSR station like an airport in terms of localization. That would save construction costs and time a lot where they are most critical and spur greatest NIMBYsm: urbanized areas.
Well Dallas already has a decent light rail system so it wouldn't be a problem building a huge parking lot near major interchanges. Now Houston the other hand only has a small amount of light rail. But you are right when you say that the HSR stations would be downtown in most of the cities mentioned. The problem is one of your solutions (huge parking lots) would never be done. It's actually a great idea and it makes sense but we all know they would never do it it's pity too because it would work really good. It's almost common sense I don't maybe there could be both an HSR station downtown and a station a little further out with a huge parking lot. But hey the problem is that I haven't heard any thing about funding for a Dallas to Houston HSR corridor and it's the best area outside of the North East and California. It's almost like it's the federal government going against it and of course big oil doesn't want it.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 07:38 AM   #2342
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I haven't taken a look on the specifics of that area, but the distances and population seem to work in favor of a HSR case. However, I fear a HSR-Texas Triangle project would start by assuming stations should be downtown in each city, which makes access to stations easy for the tiny fraction of people living and working in their inner area, and a nightmare for everybody else, while also increase tunneling costs a lot.

So, why don't they come up with a plan for major HSR stations near major highway interchanges, with massive parking lots and maybe even some light-rail connection to downtown - in other words, why don't they treat an HSR station like an airport in terms of localization. That would save construction costs and time a lot where they are most critical and spur greatest NIMBYsm: urbanized areas.
I believe HSR in America would do wisely connecting airports, especially in regions with low density cities. Intermodal connections are important, and I believe in America, long distance travel plays a bigger role than it does in model HSR countries like France or Japan. Also, I've read that short distance flights aren't really profitable, and airlines would like to get rid of them anyway... which is why Southwest Airlines and Continental Airlines actually switched sides on Texan HSR a couple of years ago and now support the Texan HSR organisation (on whose maps it looks very much like the 3 Termini are on airports )

However you miss the city planning aspect of placing the stations. It's quite possible that city planners desire to get a denser development than they have, and placing Rail stations would be one way to get that.

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
If there is a chance for profit, private operators will run services. That is my essential case: if the government is to subsidize anything, let it be ONLY the construction of infrastructure. Put the tracks, and let the state DOTs maintain them. Then, let PRIVATE operators decide which trains will be run, at which schedule, at which price, without any government interference. Take the example of Greyhound: of course a bus company would never make money to build roads, even in the "golden years" of bus service. However, government doesn't interfere with Greyhound dictating schedules, fares or the likes (at least not since 1974).

Take the Northeast Corridor, for instance: since Amtrak brags about its profitability, why not keep Amtark maintaining only the the tracks, stations, signlaing and yards, and auctioning off all rolling stock and letting private operators run the actual trains? The idea of train conductors, train engineers and ticket clerks being public employees shouls annoy the American public (and the pulbic of other countries also).
I believe I've said it before, but only supporting transport projects with profitable vehicle operations might work for intercity travel, but in commuter traffic, the space advantage of rail (and to a lesser extent, bus) over car is so enormous that I believe this (and its economic long-term consequences) offsets operating subsidies.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 08:34 PM   #2343
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Originally Posted by HARTride 2012 View Post
Cali & the NE is where true HSR can happen. YEAH BABY!
And the Midwest. Wow, those three regions contain well over half the U.S. Population. Seems like the vast majority of the country is well suited to HSR!
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Old March 13th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #2344
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I haven't taken a look on the specifics of that area, but the distances and population seem to work in favor of a HSR case. However, I fear a HSR-Texas Triangle project would start by assuming stations should be downtown in each city, which makes access to stations easy for the tiny fraction of people living and working in their inner area, and a nightmare for everybody else, while also increase tunneling costs a lot.

So, why don't they come up with a plan for major HSR stations near major highway interchanges, with massive parking lots and maybe even some light-rail connection to downtown - in other words, why don't they treat an HSR station like an airport in terms of localization. That would save construction costs and time a lot where they are most critical and spur greatest NIMBYsm: urbanized areas.


Take the Northeast Corridor, for instance: since Amtrak brags about its profitability, why not keep Amtark maintaining only the the tracks, stations, signlaing and yards, and auctioning off all rolling stock and letting private operators run the actual trains? The idea of train conductors, train engineers and ticket clerks being public employees shouls annoy the American public (and the pulbic of other countries also).
?).
Wow, where to begin. First off, you need to look at a map of Dallas and Houston and tell me where all the major highways converge (hint, it's not in the suburbs).

The DTs of these cities are equally accessible from all suburbs. Putting the main station in a random suburb would force people to jam a single artery to get there, worsening congestion. Not to mention that existing rail ROW could not be used to service the station, forcing the line to be built on an entirely new ROW through rich, politically powerful suburbs. And you think NIMBYism downtown would be a problem? Not to mention the significantly higher cost of your proposal when all you bitch about is the cost of HSR infrastructure.

Second, both Dallas and Houston have growing light systems all converging DT at or near the city's original main intercity train station. DT is the ONLY logical place to build a HSR terminal.

Third, if Amtrak is operating a century old rail line suffering from a major investment deficit at large operating profits, why give it to another organization? Amtrak is operating the NE corridor just fine.

Finally, I don't appreciate some Dutchman telling the American people what they should and should not be annoyed by.
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Last edited by hoosier; March 13th, 2011 at 08:53 PM.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 08:57 PM   #2345
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. But hey the problem is that I haven't heard any thing about funding for a Dallas to Houston HSR corridor and it's the best area outside of the North East and California. It's almost like it's the federal government going against it and of course big oil doesn't want it.
A huge problem on this thread is people posting crap that is not even close to factually correct.

The federal government is giving HSR money to states that have shown a desire to build enhanced rail corridors and have actually done some preparatory work (environmental impact statements, ridership studies, obtaining local funding sources), none of which has happened in Texas.

When the governor boasts about possible secession why would the federal government give that state any more money than it already receives?
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Old March 14th, 2011, 02:34 AM   #2346
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Dallas-Houston wouldn't make sense because of the lack of connecting options. For any of these potential HSR projects to be successful and have sustained ridership, you need either a) a substantial downtown population, or b) a well-developed mass transit system that reaches the suburbs. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Tampa, nor Orlando have either of these. Other things working against these cities are their dominant car cultures and availability of cheap 1-hr flights.


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Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
Finally, I don't appreciate some Dutchman telling the American people what they should and should not be annoyed by.
Suburbanist, if you look at any of his posts, this guy is just naturally an angry individual, so I wouldn't bother. I don't mind outside perspectives and couldn't care less whether you say something I agree or disagree with. Dealing with disagreement in a hospitable manner is just a part of life.
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Old March 14th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #2347
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Finally, I don't appreciate some Dutchman telling the American people what they should and should not be annoyed by.
I don't know why anybody takes him seriously.
It's obvious he never leaves his basement!
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Old March 14th, 2011, 08:19 PM   #2348
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He is not even Dutch, he's a Brazilian.
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Old March 14th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #2349
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He is not even Dutch, he's a Brazilian.
Half-Italian, Half-Brazilian.

What is the point of arguing one's nationality in this thread, anyway?
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Old March 15th, 2011, 02:59 AM   #2350
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Originally Posted by slipperydog View Post
Dallas-Houston wouldn't make sense because of the lack of connecting options. For any of these potential HSR projects to be successful and have sustained ridership, you need either a) a substantial downtown population, or b) a well-developed mass transit system that reaches the suburbs. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Tampa, nor Orlando have either of these. Other things working against these cities are their dominant car cultures and availability of cheap 1-hr flights.
Wrong again. Do you just pull arguments out of your rear to suit your ideology?

Dallas and Houston both have growing light rail systems that converge DT and serve the main intercity rail station. LOOK AT A MAP. Dallas and Orlando have seen tremendous DT residential development that is rapidly consuming most remaining surface parking lots.

The dominant car culture argument is not valid either. The fact that tens of billions of public tax dollars have been pumped into roads is not an argument against investing a much smaller amount of money in alternative modes of travel. There is also the fact that Houston has the worst air quality of any city in the country. If any city needs less auto and air travel, Houston would be it.
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Last edited by hoosier; March 15th, 2011 at 03:06 AM.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 03:05 AM   #2351
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Half-Italian, Half-Brazilian.

What is the point of arguing one's nationality in this thread, anyway?
I don't tell Italians or Brazilians what should annoy them about their government.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 04:10 AM   #2352
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Wrong again. Do you just pull arguments out of your rear to suit your ideology?
You have no idea what my ideology is. I've said repeatedly that HSR is fine where it makes sense. You can go back and actually read my posts if you're at all curious where I support high speed rail. Now judging by your posts, YOUR ideology seems to be "let's spend billions for HSR no matter where it is." Typical of the American Left for over 150 years now.

Quote:
Dallas and Houston both have growing light rail systems that converge DT and serve the main intercity rail station. LOOK AT A MAP.
I've been on it multiple times. It's only downtown. How does that system help ANYONE taking high speed rail into the DFW or Houston metroplex? CONNECTIONS. It's not a difficult concept to grasp.

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Dallas and Orlando have seen tremendous DT residential development that is rapidly consuming most remaining surface parking lots.
This may be true, but is hardly sufficient reason in and of itself to invest billions in high speed rail when the vast majority of these people live in the suburbs like Plano, Frisco, Garland, etc.

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The dominant car culture argument is not valid either. The fact that tens of billions of public tax dollars have been pumped into roads is not an argument against investing a much smaller amount of money in alternative modes of travel.
Hey I'm with you. If these states think they need it, I'm sure they'll vote for it. Now I will admit I haven't seen much movement in that direction, which is likely because they understand that HSR is inherently unnecessary in their respective areas.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 06:15 AM   #2353
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"let's spend billions for HSR no matter where it is." Typical of the American Left for over 150 years now.
Huh? Leaving aside that no one heard of HSR 150 years ago, almost exactly 150 years ago it was the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who got the Transcontinental Railroad going. Do you count him as part of "the American Left"?

What really got me about this comment was the apparent belief that the politics of the left and right that we see now were unchanged for that length of time. On the contrary, there are many political issues where what is considered "left"and "right" have switched sides and even more where the considerations have totally changed (example--the goal of building railroads in 1865 was to tie the continent together and limit the extent of slavery, issues nobody thinks about today).

Quote:
If these states think they need it, I'm sure they'll vote for it. Now I will admit I haven't seen much movement in that direction, which is likely because they understand that HSR is inherently unnecessary in their respective areas.
Coming, as I do, from a state that has so far put $10 billion of state funds into HSR (as the result of a vote), I'm with you there.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:14 AM   #2354
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Huh? Leaving aside that no one heard of HSR 150 years ago, almost exactly 150 years ago it was the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who got the Transcontinental Railroad going. Do you count him as part of "the American Left"?

What really got me about this comment was the apparent belief that the politics of the left and right that we see now were unchanged for that length of time. On the contrary, there are many political issues where what is considered "left"and "right" have switched sides and even more where the considerations have totally changed (example--the goal of building railroads in 1865 was to tie the continent together and limit the extent of slavery, issues nobody thinks about today).
Well said and succinct. Thanks for setting me straight. Although the whole "150 years" comment was really more arbitrary/tongue in cheek than anything, I suppose people not familiar with American history or politics might tend to make certain assumptions. Basically, people need to understand the there has been an long-standing belief on the left that simply throwing more money at various projects, social programs, education, etc. is the only way to achieve results. It's definitely a good path to get oneself elected, but that spendthrift mentality is part of the reason our country is $14 trillion in the hole. It's always good to have voices of opposition when certain projects don't make sense and people are trying to sell something that stinks. As en vogue as the word is these days, it hardly means they're "ideological."
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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:18 AM   #2355
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Republicans back in Lincolns times were liberal.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:22 AM   #2356
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Republicans back in Lincolns times were liberal.
That's debatable, but let's not go down that road. The world is much, much different now, so "labeling" for the most part is a pointless exercise. I don't know about you all, but I'd like to get back to discussing HSR development and which routes make the most sense. Politics can be a factor here, but it just gets people worked up.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 08:43 AM   #2357
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Maybe its time we close this thread for months to let the topic cool down....although i have a feeling that it will spill over to the Railway thread.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #2358
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Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
A huge problem on this thread is people posting crap that is not even close to factually correct.

The federal government is giving HSR money to states that have shown a desire to build enhanced rail corridors and have actually done some preparatory work (environmental impact statements, ridership studies, obtaining local funding sources), none of which has happened in Texas.

When the governor boasts about possible secession why would the federal government give that state any more money than it already receives?
Listen we all know that Texas isn't and can't sucede. Now I'm not sure about the facts of your somment about the governor of Texas boasting of leaving the U.S. but "it's Texas" so I'll belive you on that. I'm not sure if the governor of Texas would pull a (Florida) and say no to the funds for HSR. Maybe he would maybe he wouldn't but it could be done as an agreement between the dallas and houston metro's. Kind of like the back door that was opened in florida for Orlando and Tampa. But hey I live in Oklahoma we want HSR between Oklahoma City and Tulsa we're pushing for it it's just that we're to sparsly populated. But the simple fact is that HSR is perfect between Dallas and Houston but the problem is Congress right now and there's no reason for the left and the executive branch to do it Texas wont go democractic in 2012 or 2016 (maybe 2022) there's no political reason to do it. Now I'm not gonna act like the right wouldn't try and stop this but the left wouldn't push for it despite the fact that texas's has secessionist in it's gov't it's of no benifit to the people in control of the executive and left of center other wise it would have been funded.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 02:55 PM   #2359
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Can we just do this where it makes the most economic sense? Where did the Japanese start? Tokyo, and they worked out from there. They started where there were the most people who needed to move around. They didn't start where the most powerful congressman lived or in the state the incumbant party needs to carry in the next election.

Why can't we leave parochial politics out of it and follow the model that worked. Start in New York City on one coast and work south. Once you get to DC, then go back to NYC and start north. Start in Los Angeles on the other coast and work north. There is no economic risk there, it will work and as long as it doesn't have to subsidize a congressperson mandated yet virtually riderless line from who knows where to east bumble dork the system will operate efficiently and cost effectively.

We can argue till the cows come home about Houston to Dallas, or Miami to Orlando or wherevere to wherever but I think everyone can agree that the NEC and Central to Southern California will work. Just start there!
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Old March 15th, 2011, 04:33 PM   #2360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipperydog View Post
people need to understand the there has been an long-standing belief on the left that simply throwing more money at various projects, social programs, education, etc. is the only way to achieve results. It's definitely a good path to get oneself elected, but that spendthrift mentality is part of the reason our country is $14 trillion in the hole. It's always good to have voices of opposition when certain projects don't make sense and people are trying to sell something that stinks.
I agree with all of that, but the other side is that, because "throwing money" at things often doesn't fix them, more money would not be helpful to solve any of our problems.

Actually, when it comes to transportation, the first step is to acknowledge there's a problem (or at least an issue). One extreme position is that roads (with cars) and air travel are enough--that America not only doesn't need but would not benefit from HSR anywhere and so any money spent on it is wasted. I believe in at least some places--the northeast, California, possibly certain routes around Chicago--that is false. I believe that high speed city center to city center rail travel among the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC, and among Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego (and maybe Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit and Cleveland) would not only be a better experience than flying among those places, but that it would relieve present and future congestion of air routes among those places and solve what will be, if it isn't now, a problem. I therefore think planning and building HSR service in select locations (those, possibly a few others) now, while it's cheaper than it will be when the need becomes even more obvious, would be smart.

All this is a way of saying I think the people who think HSR is everywhere and always a waste of money are wrong.
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